Theoretical Lens (theoretical + lens)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Risk Uncertainty and Supply Chain Decisions: A Real Options Perspective

G. Tomas M. Hult
ABSTRACT Supply chain risk uncertainty can create severe repercussions, thus it is not surprising that research interest in supply chain risk has been growing. While extant inquiry is informative, there is a lack of investigations that center on supply chain investment decisions when facing high levels of risk uncertainty. Given the potential dollar value involved in these decisions, an understanding of how these supply chain decisions are made is of significant theoretical and practical importance. Real options theory, with its focus on decision making under conditions of uncertainty, is an appealing theoretical lens for this endeavor. In essence, real options theory asserts that managerial decisions center on creating and then exercising or not exercising certain opportunities. To date, theorizing about and investigations of real options have used firms as their focus. Not yet examined are real options within supply chains that cross firm boundaries and drive much of the competitive activity in the modern economy. Accordingly, we extend real options theory to the supply chain context by examining how different types of options are approached relative to supply chain project investments. Specifically, we theorize how the options will be related to perceived value under conditions of high supply chain risk uncertainty. Overall, our investigation builds knowledge by extending real options theory to the supply chain context and by providing evidence suggesting some options operate differently in supply chains than they do in firms. [source]

Shared Services Transformation: Conceptualization and Valuation from the Perspective of Real Options

Ning Su
ABSTRACT In today's volatile global economy, where many organizations face severe pressure to downsize, the "shared services" model, in which a firm merges common functions performed by multiple units into a single service delivery organization, provides an innovative approach to make business more efficient and effective. To successfully implement shared services, firms need to strategically decide whether and how to pursue various service transformation alternatives such as simplification, standardization, consolidation, insourcing, or outsourcing. In this study, we develop the notion of real options into a unique theoretical lens for conceptualizing service organizations and their transformation in an uncertain business environment. Specifically, we view service organization as a set of strategic options that give the firm preferential access to future transformation opportunities. We create a taxonomy of these options, and introduce a decision methodology for valuing alternative shared services transformation approaches. We illustrate this methodology by applying it in a real business case to justify a global firm's decision regarding the transformation of its finance organization. [source]

Institutional Theory and Entrepreneurship: Where Are We Now and Where Do We Need to Move in the Future?

Garry D. Bruton
Institutional theory is an increasingly utilized theoretical lens for entrepreneurship research. However, while institutional theory has proven highly useful, its use has reached a point that there is a need to establish a clearer understanding of its wide-ranging application to entrepreneurship research. Therefore, we will initially review the existing entrepreneurship literature that employs institutional theory to both understand the current status of the field, its current shortcomings, and where we need to move in the future. We then summarize and discuss the articles in this special issue and how they contribute to this process of advancing institutional theory and its application in entrepreneurship research. [source]

Opportunities to work at home in the context of work-life balance

Alan Felstead
Discussion of ,work-life balance' and ,family-friendly' employment is much in vogue among politicians and business leaders. Often, but not always, working at home is included within such practices. However, the concepts of work-life balance and family-friendly are commonly left ill-defined by researchers and policymakers alike. In this article we outline formal definitions of these terms, which place spatial issues - and hence working at home - at the heart of the debate. This leads us on to examine working at home through the theoretical lens offered by attempts to explain the rise of work-life balance arrangements. Twelve hypotheses emerge from the literature and are tested on the management data contained in the 1998 Workplace Employee Relations Survey or WERS98. Many of these hypotheses pass weak statistical tests but fail on stronger logistic regression tests. The article shows that the option to work at home is more likely to be available in the public sector, large establishments and work environments in which individuals are responsible for the quality of their own output. These workplaces are typically less unionised but not especially feminised. [source]

Theorizing TQM: An Austrian and Evolutionary Economics Interpretation

Todd H. Chiles
Born out of management practice, the principles of TQM (total quality management) have had a profound and unparalleled impact on modern business history. However, as a body of practical knowledge, TQM has been largely atheoretical. As a consequence, this important management philosophy has remained amorphous and shrouded in considerable conceptual haziness and ambiguity. Recent theorizing, primarily emphasizing the application of organizational behaviour theories to TQM, has begun to provide greater clarity, but much work remains to be done. This paper attempts to contribute to this nascent theory-building literature by employing theory from market process economics (MPE), namely, Austrian and evolutionary economics, which explains how processes of dynamic change, adaptation, and learning are driven by entrepreneurial creativity. We contend that the patterns in this body of theory match, to a remarkable degree, the patterns of practical knowledge contained in the TQM literature. We demonstrate this ,pattern-matching' by showing that MPE effectively provides the theoretical underpinnings of TQM's three main principles , customer focus, continuous improvement and teamwork , as well as the respective TQM topics of customer perceptions, adaptation in dynamic environments, and knowledge creation. Having established MPE as a credible theoretical lens for interpreting TQM, it can be used to clarify fuzzy areas that have remained in the TQM literature with the potential to take us beyond what we know now. We illustrate this with three examples that show how we can resolve debates in TQM over incentive systems, recognize that TQM embraces methodological pluralism in the collection and analysis of data, and highlight hidden dangers that attend benchmarking. While MPE has no monopoly on theoretical interpretations of TQM, it is unique in its ability to comprehensively cover the incredible breadth of this practical body of knowledge, and in its interpretation of TQM as a dynamic economic endeavour. [source]

Putting the Brakes on the Rush to Spend Down End-of-Year Balances: Carryover Money in Oklahoma State Agencies

End-of-the-year spending sprees by government agencies are viewed generally as an example of government wastefulness. Agency personnel, however, rationalize the practice as a means for protecting their budgets from inexpedient cuts. In Oklahoma, a policy has been adopted that allows agencies to carry over and reprogram year-end surpluses as long as the reprogrammed funds are spent within 16.5 months of the end of the fiscal year. Using agency theory as a theoretical lens, we show that this policy restructures the contract between the principal (legislature) and its agents (state agencies) so that their interests are better aligned, regarding end-of-the-year surpluses. [source]